Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Day At Whidbey NAS

Where would we be without our friends?  Not spending a day touring the Whidbey Naval Air Station, that's for sure!  One of Kerry's college friends - now a family friend - is a Navy P-3 Orion pilot.  What's a P-3 Orion?  Looks like this.  (Photo shamelessly lifted from Wikipedia.)

While touring the base, they were allowed to photograph some areas but not others, and the P-3 they actually saw was in a hangar with a lot going on, so no photos there.  Since the one above is Brazilian (and published on wikipedia) I don't think there's any security breach ;D

Our friend Jerry Homola invited the boys to come down, and bring some of their CAP buddies.  (Space being somewhat limited, this wasn't an official CAP activity though.)  They had an amazing time.  I'm probably getting some things out of order, and some things they couldn't photograph... like the P-3 Orion flight simulator they all got time in - VERY cool. They're still talking about that!

Jerry (leading the boys in the photo below) was able to take them right up into the Flight Control tower!

The smoke in the background is from a boat fire in nearby La Conner.

I think Gunnar is finding the base on the map.

A really awesome map, I might add!

Jerry also took the boys over where they train pilots for all kinds of situations.

Apparently you can simulate being ejected from a plane.

A civilian instructor (Bob Johnson, I think?) talked to them about parachuting safety.

The "cages" in the back of the room are where they somehow simulate parachute "situations" using the screens.  Wasn't clear to me (third hand) but the boys were intrigued.

Tate says that in this room they can lower the oxygen content and simulate conditions at high altitude.  The instructor talked about the effects of hypoxia on pilots.

They also got to see the training pool, and may get to go back and watch actual training.  Apparently they strap the pilots into seats in that contraption to the left, drop it in the pool, and they have to practice escaping.  They may even be able to turn it upside down.  And they simulate weather conditions too - dark, windy, precipitation, etc.  Sounds completely terrifying to me!

We're grateful to have a friend like Jerry, who put this whole thing together, and for the hospitality of the base.  They're very friendly to our local homeschool group as well and have put together tours for us in the past.


Joyful Reader said...

What a great experience for these young men! They all look so very intent too.
Thankful there are men out there that still like to share these things with the younger or next generation. So many are self absorbed and wouldn't take the time!

Rebecca D said...

That looks so interesting! I could stare at a map like that for hours!

melanie said...

Cool. So very cool. And so practical in a 'This is real life for many men' way!

The dunking/training pool aside, who wouldn't want to fly?! Such Adventure!